Oh yes having read Ned Potter’s post on his views and opinions on library qualifications, I thought I’d put in my 2pennys worth about this one, what with being a lot of the way into the MSc Library and Information Studies courteousy of Aber an’ all.
How is it perceived? How is it valued? Does it make a difference to me? Does it make a difference to my employer?
Well, I had an excellent Head of Library when I was employed at Marjons who wholeheartedly encouraged me to get cracking on this one. Why? I’m thinking that as a mother just like me, with all those responsibilities to keep juggling, she knew I would need a quick way to be taken seriously (Ned’s point about not so much subject as being the kind of person who does a Masters ie committed), and a shortcut around years and years of experience, in order to get to a Professional post before it was time to retire! (What is a Professional post is a whole other thing – I’ll pick up on that later).
Obviously that begs the question experience versus qualification but I don’t really want to go there. I often tell my children that the antiquated virtue of ‘working your way up’ in the workplace was actually a negative working practice often induced by nepitism and sexual harrassment (casting couch etc), and that more likely the people who had ‘been there for years’ had the worst bad habits and outdated management styles. Just to reiterate a previous post I have written, I wouldn’t be working for a Higher Education institution if I didn’t wholly believe and have respect for the need and value of our Education system.
So getting back to the Masters, well, in my current role, the management claim that the fact that I am doing my Masters was very important to them in the interview process – they were aware of the knowledge I have acrued from the course, and of the benefits this would be to the team, building resilience and looking forward to development. They were also aware of the type of person this showed me to be – committed, professional, aspirational, explorative, and organised. On the whole, just being in the process of completing my Masters has been beneficial. In terms of looking to a higher grade role, I will also need it to be eligible to apply for those posts. In reality, I’m not so sure the course work is up to date enough to be able to provide me with the tools for my current post. In fairness it has given me a solid foundation and that in itself is enough.
I study because I am addicted to it. Due to my personal restrictions (family etc) it has taken me so long to get to this stage, I have to admit I am starting to consider this to be the peak of my career. If all I can tell my children is that in life I became a Chartered Librarian and proud of it, then I will be happy.